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What is a Coaching Mindset and How Do You Get It and Maintain It?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching MindsetThe ICF recently added the first new Core Coaching Competency in over two decades.

It's called: Maintains a Coaching Mindset.

This post will clear up confusion about what a Coaching Mindset is, why it matters, and how you can develop and maintain it. Because once you understand this, a doorway opens that makes masterful coaching possible for you.

The first thing to know is that this competency is demonstrated both outside coaching sessions as well as during coaching. In other words coaching, with its expansive positivity, curiosity, presence, and acknowledgement isn't something you just do for an hour or two and then revert to thinking and acting small. Thinking like a coach is a 24/7 commitment.

Maintains a Coaching Mindset helps counter the misconception that coaching is merely a performative skill set.

The ICF definition of Maintains a Coaching Mindset is:

Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

 

Coaches need to show up this way during coaching sessions because it helps raise the client's receptivity and resourcefulness, which are key to the client's success. Great coaches do more than help clients solve their problems. They help them grow into people who stop having those problems. Plus, coaches need to show up this way outside coaching sessions in order to maintain trust and respect with clients.

Because, almost anyone can learn the communication techniques of coaching. But until they learn to think like a coach, that will limit their clients' outcomes and growth, and it will also limit the coaches' careers, because clients won't want to work with them. Why not?

Potential clients naturally mistrust coaches who are closed-minded, incurious, rigid, or self-centered; even if just a little bit.

So how do you develop and maintain a coaching mindset? Here are several approaches:

  • Develop your self-awareness. Because you cannot be client-centered if you are unaware of where you end and your client begins. It's surprising how often people are unaware of this. If you are a helpaholic or compulsive advice giver, you need work here. Get to know your own Strengths and Values, as well as your Needs, biases, unhealed wounds, assumptions, and habits. It's a lot to be aware of and it will always be a work in progress, but healthy personal growth can carry a coach a long way. How can you achieve this?
  • Develop self-regulation. When your Needs, boundaries, and self-care are well met, you can show up positively and your negative emotions are much less likely to get in the way. This can change your entire outlook as well as what you think is possible for your clients. A coach or therapist can give you customized support with this, but there are several other approaches that can work well:
    • Know your boundaries and how to communicate them. Just as good fences make good neighbors, good boundaries are the foundation of good relationships. What are you not okay with? What are your deal breakers? Good boundaries are clear but also flexible and boundary conversations help us navigate varied cultural perspectives, a necessary skill in the 21st Century. Boundaries are basic rules of engagement that help you and others be your best. When you know how to communicate boundaries, you put people at ease and relationships progress more smoothly. For example: Your written agreement with your clients is a formalized set of boundaries. In fact, most difficult issues that could come up in coaching relationships can be forestalled by what is included in that agreement. You need less formal boundaries in your personal relationships but don't try to live without them. By the way, sometimes the person you need to set boundaries with the most is yourself. You can learn to set boundaries by taking trainings or even reading books on boundaries. Here's a good one.
    • Know your Needs and get them met. We all have them. Most of us go through life hoping ours will be met  and then suffering needlessly because Needs aren't met by chance. They are our own responsibility. If we don't actively work to get them met, it's unlikely that they will be. Abraham Maslow said meeting Needs is like taking vitamins; they keep us healthy. Unhealthy coaches can't reliably maintain a coaching mindset. Read about Needs here. Take this course to learn how to help yourself and your clients get Needs met.
    • Take your self-care seriously. Working crazy hours, eating a terrible diet, never exercising, juggling stress,  sleeping too little, and impoverished relationships can all block your coaching mindset and you may not even notice. But others will. Don't take that chance. What's one thing you know you need to start doing, or stop doing, to take care of you? Are you willing to commit to that change? Great, when can you start?
  • Develop your intuition, empathy, creativity, and positivity. Western culture has long prized reason, logic, and rational thought, the so-called left-brain thinking patterns. Those qualities have taken our culture a long way. But your brain has two hemispheres. You can't live your best life without both. Coaching excels because it unabashedly includes other ways of thinking that are associated with the right brain. Integrate your brain so you can move back and forth seamlessly. Why does this matter? It helps provide the wisdom, flexibility, positivity and creativity that are prized in master-level coaching. And it helps you develop a coaching mindset. This leads almost effortlessly to more profound client outcomes. They are so worth it. Here's how:
    • Engage in contemplative practices and use one or more to prepare for coaching sessions. These will help change your brain by temporarily lowering stress. Over time, you'll develop greater perspective, more maturity, and more wisdom. Because we are all prone to stress but cannot coach well when when we are in the fight, flight, or freeze response, we need these practices to prepare for coaching sessions. Traditional practices, such as mindfulness, sitting meditation, walking meditation, prayer, chanting, and ritual can all change your brain state briefly, so they are ideal for preparing before coaching sessions, but when practiced  daily for months and years, they change those relaxed states into enduring traits by integrating the brain. If you're more secular, uncomfortable with a spiritual approach, or technology is your thing, there are powerful research-based breath exercises and verified practices based on smartphone apps and other devices. HeartMath is effective for many. Over time, these practices can help you strengthen your True Self and be less controlled by your ego. That can help you be happier. Your True Self (sometimes called Personal Greatness, Higher Self, Wise Self, etc.) is essentially your coaching mindset.
    • Live a Values-driven life. Your Values are what really matter to you. If you are spending all your time on other matters, you cannot be your True Self, nor can you live your best life, nor may you coach masterfully. When your mindset is focused on what matters, you are thinking like a coach and can coach clients to greatness.
  • Keep Learning. The ICF and most other certifiers require that you continue your coaching education throughout your career. When you choose a coach training, look not for the acquisition of mere technical information, but for the kind of adaptive challenges that will assist you to coach at increasingly higher levels and to show up with the mindset of your True Self, Personal Greatness, or Higher Self. In other words, training that will challenge you to show up with the mindset of a coach. It's worth it.

The Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program and Certified Neuroscience Coach Program can help you learn beginning-to-advanced coaching skills and develop a coaching mindset. Or read more about becoming a coach in the free Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook.

 

Learn more about becoming a coach here:

 

Get the FREE Become a Positive Psychology Coach eBook


 

 

 

Topics: become a coach, ICF, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, personal development, coaching with neuroscience, brain, FIND A COACH, free ebook, personal greatness, personal growth, personal values, become a positive psychology coach, certified neuroscience coach, Competencies

Radical Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

Posted by Julia Stewart

Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

Self-care is part of the job description for coaches.

Unfortunately, self-care has become a bit of a cliche: about getting a massage, taking a yoga class, or eating kale. The truth is, self-care is whatever restores and strengthens you and it can take any form that works for you.

It takes discipline to practice self-care consistently. When you do so, you are able to be your best every day regardless what else happens. That means, if you're a coach, you coach more effectively.

That's especially true if you are a Highly Sentive Person (aka HSP or Empath). The wiring of an HSP is perfect for coaching when it is well cared for. You have a super power that needs nurturing.  That's what you're doing when you practice self-care and personal development. Otherwise, you may experience meltdowns and could show up like a super villain, instead of a super hero, to those around you.

Self-care is anything but selfish, especially for highly sensitive coaches.

Read on for information on highly sensitive coaches, the traits that make them desirable, tests to see if you are highly sensitive, and a free class on radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches...

HSPs/Empaths tend to have many of the qualities that are most prized in coaching. The following are estimates of percentages of HSPs who share the following qualities. (Source: Esther Bergsma, 2019)*.

  • Empathy (85%)
  • Strong Intuition (79%)
  • Good Listener (78%)
  • Open Minded (76%)
  • Caring (76%)
  • Creative Thinking (70%)
  • Able to See the Big Picture (69%)
  • Sense of Humor (65%)

If you are strong on most of the above, you may be wired to be a great coach. If you also have the discipline to care for, nurture, and even enhance those abilities, you may be cut out to be a professional coach.

 

If you are curious whether you are an HSP:

Take this short test, or this longer one, or take this more in-depth test.

 

So how do you care for the finely-tuned nervous system of a highly sensitive coach?

 

Look for your current level of care and ask whether it is enough for you to be at your best, every day. If not, what people, places, or things put you out of balance? You might want to carry a journal and make note whenever something annoys you, stresses you, or wears you out. Then ask yourself 10 ways to change each of those items so they don't sap your energy, anymore. Don't worry, at first, if any of those solutions are possible. If you keep an open mind, a few doable solutions will rise to the top.

 

Also take a look at your internal environment. As a highly senstive coach, you take in more information than others. That's a brilliant benefit to coaching. It can also overwhelm your system. You also likely have stronger emotions. Emotions are your body/mind's communication system. Yours is more acute and that also benefits your coaching. But strong emotions need management. Otherwise, they create chaos as well as conflict with others. What habits or processes can help you manage your intensity? If you are overhwelmed, how will you work in calming breaks? If your emotions are unruly, how will you develop more emotional literacy?

 

Another great way to do this is to discover your Needs and learn to get them met. A key to meeting Needs is to apply your Strengths. Certified Positive Psychology Coaches do this with their clients but it is important to do it with ourselves, first. Otherwise, it's impossible to understand. Even coaches need coaches for this type of assistance. Our positive psychology coaching students learn to do this with their clients and you can find a coach who can help you here.

 

Or Learn about Radical Self Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches in this free class.

 

Radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches is like tuning up a fine Italian sports car before taking an epic drive through the Italian Alps. Otherwise, you might end up stuck by the side of the road, or worse. Do take that epic life adventure! But first take time to take care of yourself. You'll enjoy more awe, more thrills, more gratitude, more togetherness, more joy. And so will those around you!

 

Ready to be your best so you can serve others better? Ready to treat yourself the way your need to be treated? Ready to nurture your super powers so they can be your super strengths and not your weaknesses? Take this upcoming free class and get started on the path of radical self-care:

 

FREE: Radical Self-Care for Highly Sensitive Coaches

 

*This post is informed by Esther Bergsma's The Brains of Highly Sensitive People, published in 2020 in the US. Highly recommended! By the way, this book features the 2007 research on sensitivity by Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FOATA, CPPC. Winnie later attended and graduated from our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program.

Topics: gratitude, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, personal development, positive psychology coaching, Strengths, Needs, FIND A COACH, highly sensitive, self care, Empaths

Join a Virtuous Cycle of Joy and Success this December

Posted by Julia Stewart

upward cycle

How do you define success? More money? Joy? Time? Love?

Whatever success means to you, would you like more of it? Most of us would and there is an inspiring approach that will help you, help others around you, and creates a virtuous cycle for everyone concerned.

As this difficult year comes to a close and as most cultures celebrate important holidays, now is the perfect time to co-create this virtuous cycle. Read on for how you can join in for free...

What if virtually all forms of success were related to smarter giving? They may be according to research by Adam Grant and others. Here are a few ways smarter giving benefits you:

  • Givers are more successful negotiators.
  • Givers strengthen their relationships.
  • Givers experience fulfillment.
  • Givers spark creativity and innovation.
  • Givers' clients express more satisfaction.
  • Givers inspire others to give.
  • Givers receive more in return.
  • Givers experience more joy.
  • Givers inspire joy in others.

Of course, givers can be taken advantage of, but there are smart ways to reduce or eliminate being taken.

Come learn how to be a smart giver this holiday season and help us establish a virtuous cycle of giving. It is free to join and could be the inspiration that makes 2020 one of your very best years.

Fully Alive with Positive Psychology (Giving Edition) starts this Wednesday, December 2nd, for four weeks, 7-8 PM EST. It's a live webinar with me, Julia Stewart that is free to join, but seating is limited so please only join if you will attend. No recordings will be sent out, because all of the value is in the attendance of this live reciprocity circle.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to share an amazing experience. Sign up today and mark your calendar!

Attend Free Fully Alive for Joy and Success

Topics: Free, coaching success, successful business, personal development, Positive Psychology, Boundaries, setting boundaries, Fully Alive, personal growth, self care

The Vow: How it Is and Is NOT Like Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

Personal Development and Executive Success Depositphotos_125942550_l-2015-1

Like many coaches, I am watching with horror the documentary series, The Vow, on HBO.

The Vow is about a personal development multi-level-marketing company called, Nxivm (pronounced, aptly enough, like the heartburn medication, Nexium) that culminates in incredible levels of abuse toward its members. Long story short, top level members of this company, most notably the founder, Keith Raniere, who claims to be one of the smartest geniuses in the world and likes to be called, Vanguard, have been charged and/or convicted of sex trafficking, racketeering, and other outrageous deeds.

[UPDATE: Raniere was convicted on all charges and, on October 27th, 2020, was sentenced to life in prison.]

Personal development is supposed to help people grow and be their best, so how the hell did this happen???

Early videos of Nxivm depict seminars that look like most personal development events, which is to say, awesome. In fact, several details made me squirm in my seat throughout the first episode because I had had similar experiences.

Then I started watching from a different angle: How could people avoid getting sucked into something that is this wonderful on the surface but evil underneath?

The New York Times broke the story about Nxivm a few years ago. I'm a former New Yorker and still read the Times. Occasionally, I would see a story about this company called, Nxivm, but mostly about what went wrong at the end and the resulting trial. It included stories about a giant financial pyramid scheme, which was bad enough, but it culminated in a mysterious private order of sex slaves who were branded with Raniere's initials! Their "masters" controlled how much they could eat, whether they could sleep, and blackmailed them into submission. One woman was punished by being locked in a room for 700 days!

You'd have to be crazy or stupid to get hooked into this, right?

“It’s easy for someone sitting in the comfort of their home to say: ‘She’s stupid. That would never happen to me.’ But it happens to people every day,” said Neil L. Glazer, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer. “Even if somebody is not holding a gun to their heads, it doesn’t mean they can leave whenever they want.” - NYTimes

Here's what creeped me out when I started watching The Vow. First, the guy who shot most of the footage is someone I met fifteen years ago at a coaching conference, Mark Vicente. He had been a speaker and sat across from me at a dinner. He worked his way up nearly to the top of Nxivm over twelve years. My first thought was, "That guy was involved with THIS??" That felt like a close brush with the sordid story I'd been reading about for years. I'm happy to say, Vicente was one of the people who helped break Nxivm in the end.

Then I watched footage of Nxivm's basic training known as the Executive Success Program (ESP). It took me back to my early years as a coach, attending coaching conferences that were fun and exciting, filled with happy people smiling, laughing, talking, jumping for joy, and hugging each other. People at Nxivm became best friends for life, just like I did with the coaches I met at seminars and conferences. It all seemed wonderful.

People who graduated from ESP were apparently screened before they were invited up to the next level: Coaches. Ugh. Even Raniere sometimes called himself a coach. Unfortunately, because coaching is unregulated, anyone can call him/herself a coach even if they are con men. Up until Nxivm, the worst stories I've heard about fake coaches who are really con artists are about financial abuse. That can be devastating enough but Nxivm leaders also committed crimes that were shockingly depraved.

But how did this lead to sex slavery and why was I unscathed when I started out in a similar manner?

  • My first thought was that I could see through that stuff. Ha! Read the quote by attorney Glazer, above. It happens all the time, even to smart people.
  • Second, with gratitude, I realized I had fallen in, from the start, with people who were basically good, welling meaning, and ethical. It could have gone differently, though.
  • Finally, I recognized three red flags that could warn off anyone from going down the rabbit hole with people who mean to exploit or abuse them:
  1. Nxivm told its trainees, from the start, to ignore their own inner wisdom and adopt only Nxivm's explanations. That robbed students of potential insights behind their doubts, gut feelings, and intuition, which should have protected them from being brainwashed. Nxivm's explanation was that prior conditioning can keep people stuck, which is true, but you cannot instantly replace it with something else and anyone who tells you to ignore it is potentially manipulating you. This has been a problem at least for the past 2,500 years when the Buddha instructed his students to never accept his teachings without first confirming their verity by going within. He was a great teacher because he understood that everyone has access to the truth but may ignore it if they think they have found someone who knows more than they do. Good coaches always defer to their clients' inner wisdom. Run from a coach or personal development teacher who tells you to ignore your inner truth.
  2. Nxivm discouraged self care. A hallmark of many cult-like organizations is that they limit sleep, food, bathroom breaks, etc. People become overwhelmed and depleted. Their bodies feel like they are surviving under emergency circumstances and the people who seem to have the power over what to think, when to sleep, and how much to eat, can control almost anything. Good self care is a basic pillar of effective coaching. People often deny themselves what they need because they think they have too much to do and too little time. Often, when they give their bodies what they need, everything else gets easier and people grow and succeed naturally.
  3. Nxivm blackmailed its members into silence and submission. They required "collateral" in order to share "advanced secrets" with members. This collateral took the form of nude photos, secrets that were potentially humiliating if they were ever revealed, and even deeds to members' houses. Ethical coaches will keep your information secret because they are members of professional organizations and take an ethical pledge to do so. And, I'd like to think, most of us would keep your information secret because that is who we are. If anyone tries to blackmail you, go to the police.

I could keep going, but I encourage you to watch The Vow and make your own conclusions. Do explore personal development but practice good self-care and defer to your own inner wisdom.

Thomas Leonard was the founder of the coaching profession. He taught his own version of personal development, including the 28 Principles of Attraction. Check it out, in his own words, for free by signing up for this 10-week eCourse. It's safe. Have fun!

Get Thomas' 28 Principles of Attraction Free eCourse

 

Topics: Coaches, Thomas Leonard, Attraction Principles, personal development

Can Evidence-Based Coaching Include Spirituality?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Positive Psychology - Neuroscience - Spirituality Model

At School of Coaching Mastery, we specialize in evidence-based positive-psychology and neuroscience coaching.

But what about spirituality? It's the backbone of early coaching technology. Can we still include it?

One of the strengths of early coaching was that it wasn't constrained by western scientific notions of reality. It embraced, among other things, the notion that what we think about tends to show up in our lives, an idea that is confirmed by Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build Theory, as well as some neuroscience findings. That freedom was a strength for coaching that allowed coaches to creatively try new techniques that appeared to be quite effective.

Later on, researchers began studying some of these new techniques and found that many were indeed effective.

But that doesn't mean anything goes in coaching. Nor does it mean we can only use tools that have already been sanctioned by science.

As neuro-psychologist and pioneer of interpersonal neurobiology, Dan Siegel has said,

"We must be informed by science but not constrained by it."

By this he means non-science sources of wisdom can be useful in assisting growth in clients. So yes, spirituality, which I define as any perspective that takes us beyond our small ego-based thinking for greater functioning, does inform effective coaching. In fact, some would argue, the ability to accommodate rational evidence-based thinking while remaining open to transformative experiences that science cannot yet explain, is an advancement of consciousness. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

In fact, spiritual wisdom can move us upwards beyond what Abraham Maslow identified as self-actualization toward self-transcendence (this last concept is often attributed to Viktor Frankl).

This doesn't mean you should impose your own spiritual beliefs on your clients. Rather, step into their beliefs and leverage them to move the client forward. Where their previous beliefs hold them back, offer reframes that may be useful and leave it to the client to embrace these new ways of thinking, or not.

Again, this requires an openness that most don't posses, which is why personal development and spiritual practice are often a must to develop great coaching.

Curious how new ways of thinking can help you grow and reach your goals? Learn non-science concepts taught by the Father of Professional Coaching, Thomas Leonard...

 

Explore Thomas Leonard's 28 Principles of Attraction in this free eCourse:

 

Get Thomas' 28 Principles of Attraction Free eCourse

 

Topics: Thomas Leonard, Barbara L Fredrickson, Attraction Principles, personal development, Positive Psychology, coaching with neuroscience, spirituality

Is Neuroplasticity Over Hyped?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Neuroplasticity_brain_to_brain

Neuroplasticity training programs are popping up everywhere.

They make a pretty grand promise: That by just learning some easy tools, you can physically change your brain and therefore your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, and you can even eliminate your addictions and habits. Wow! Who doesn't want permanent change like that?

But how do you know if they deliver?

And even if they do deliver, are there any unforeseen side effects? And how long before the effects take place? Days, months, decades? Can you cross-train your brain by practicing one activity and see then see improvements in another?

And do you really want a stranger tinkering with your brain?

These are questions I asked myself and then dug into research on the topic when I started designing the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program, because for a while, we called it the Certified Neuroplasticity Coach Program.

Bottom line: In coaching, it's the outcome that matters, the flourishing life or career that the client enjoys as a result of the coaching. That outcomes is generally due to changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which themselves are the result of changes in the brain. Brain change matters but outcomes matter most.

Neuroplasticity isn't even the point.

It's an intriguingly trendy name for a phenomenon that most neuroscientists were sure didn't exist until the 1990's when they discovered that the brain continues to change in adulthood, that in addition to new connections forming between neurons, new neurons actually form, as well. The discovery of neuroplasticity launched a whole new focus on personal development.

If you own an fMRI machine and are licensed to use it, perhaps you can promise to change your clients' brains in measurable ways and prove it. Otherwise, better to focus on the outcomes of neuroplasticity. And keep updating your knowledge, because there are downsides to brain change and questions about "dosage". For example:

  • The story of London cab drivers, who develop larger hippocampi by memorizing London’s 25,000 streets, is well known. Less well known is that the process of memorization undergone by these cabbies appears to have decreased other forms of memory, with resulting atrophy of corresponding brain regions. Neuroscientists have found evidence that there’s a trade-off, but they just don’t know for sure.
  • The story that brain plasticity trainings, such as Lumosity, don’t work, is also well known. But there are other brain-training programs by reputable scientists that still claim you can make sustainable changes to you brain. Are they right? It's hard to know without solid research evidence and that's not always available.
  • The recent book, Altered Traits, by Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson, is about how meditation changes the brain, but much of it cautions about over-promising because too much is still unknown. For example, you may know that meditation appears to make lasting changes the brain, but most of those findings have been based on people, such as Buddhist monks, who have been meditating several hours per day for decades. The problem is that, although meditation makes immediate changes, they tend to wear off quickly, and no one knows yet whether there is a reasonable amount that “regular people” can do to make lasting change.

So far, programs that promise neuroplasticity appear to over-promise.

On the other hand, neuroscience tools can be highly effective in coaching and, if you aren't using them yet, you probably need to start, especially if your clients seek lower stress levels, better focus, greater resilience, goal achievement and more because neuroscience tools and practices do appear highly effective in achieving desirable outcomes. Whether they also cause growth inside the brain, itself, is interesting but beside the point.

Clients want better outcomes not bigger brains.

If you're curious about using neuroscience tools and practices with your client, check out the courses included in the Certified Neuroscience Coach Program. Take a few course or take the entire program and upgrade your coaching with the latest tools. Download additional information by clicking below:

 

Learn More About Neuroscience Coaching Here

Topics: psychotherapy, personal development, coaching with neuroscience, Neuroplasticity, Certified Neuroplasiticty Coach, certified neuroscience coach

Coaching Tip: Enlightenment Can Be Bad For You

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching TipHow do coaching, personal development and spirituality cause dysfunction?

If you think coaching, personal development programs and spirituality are always good, think again. The tools that coaches use and that personal development gurus and spiritual teachers also may employ are usually great when used in the right situations by people who are ready for them. Try using most of those tools in every situation, though, and you can get yourself in a whole lot of trouble.

Which tools am I talking about? Well, many. But here are a couple of examples that are closely related to each other:

  • Seeing the perfection in every situation
  • Eliminating the ego 

I've coached a lot of people who were 'highly evolved'. They were very spiritual and always saw the beauty, opportunity, learning, etc. in everything and rarely let their egos get in the way.

Their lives were a mess. And they were tough to coach, because they felt good and they thought they were supposed to think that way. People who feel good aren't motivated to change. People who feel good when their lives are a mess are in some ways a little bit crazy (not a diagnosis, just an observation).

Come to think of it, I passed through this stage years ago when I first started meditating. Suddenly, things that used to bother, hurt, or anger me, didn't anymore. It was very freeing. It felt good. I loved it.

And my life started falling apart. Why? I'd lost my boundaries. I got into dysfunctional relationships, because my former warning system, pain, had shut down. I was very forgiving, had but lost the ability to say, 'Hey, this is not okay with me.' Fortunately, I learned to grow past my 'enlightenment'.

Coaches who have drunk too much of the Coaching Cool-aid, sometimes fall for this. They will quickly reframe every challenge as an opportunity. Or they will coach everybody they meet, as if their own needs never even matter. They lose critical skills when they try to show up 'like a coach' in every situation (and they're less effective as coaches).

Skills like:

  • Discernment
  • Engagement
  • Commitment

Procrastination, complacency, and cluelessness may set in. Because after all, everything's great, right? So there's no need to make changes. People may start to avoid them. Relationships, careers, health, and finances begin to fall apart. But all the while, they feel GOOD, because they're stoned on their own endorphins. And like all opiate addicts, they've lost the ability to notice and respond to their environments. Not pretty.

Positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, says too much positivity gets us in trouble. People tend to do best when they experience positive thoughts and feelings about 75-90% of the time. Anymore than that and they stop  heeding warning signs, miss important details, become over-confident, and lose credibility with others. They may spiral into failure and despair, as a result. That's not what you want for yourself or your clients.

In addition, by choosing in advance to respond to everything in the same way, they are limiting possibilities, rather than expanding them.

Worse yet, they may create shadow behaviors that are acted out out unconsciously. 'No ego' becomes arrogance ('I'm more enlightened than you!'). 'Seeing the perfection' becomes passive aggression (Got a problem? 'Just see the perfection in it, or else you're not 'woke'.)

One of the many things I value about Zen Master Genpo Roshi's teachings is that he takes this problem head on. He calls this level of enlightenment dysfunctional and says a zen  master's job is to push you through this stage as quickly as possible. Because otherwise you can get profoundly stuck. Feeling good all the time is very, very seductive.

Not many teachers even recognize this problem. In fact, some of them are actually stuck here, themselves. Many teach that this stage is desirable. Don't get sucked in by that.

Remember the saying, 'When you're going through Hell, keep going'? Well the great thing about Hell is that it feels so awful you want to keep going.

The awful thing about Enlightenment is that it feels so good, you want to stay there. And as soon as you try to hold on to it , you're not enlightened anymore. Delusion is enlightenment's shadow. Keep going.

When you fully engage with life, experiencing pain, resistance and yes, even your ego, you are fully alive, highly functional and - you're enlightened in a mature way. Then you've got the makings of a great coach. Yes, get your ego out of the way and see the perfection when you're coaching your clients. That's your job and it's a huge value to the people you coach. But when you're not coaching, be fully human.

And keep going.

Fully Alive Personal Development with Positive Psychology is a free extra program that's included with the Certified Positive Psychology Coach® Program. Learn more about it here:

Explore the Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program

Topics: Coaching, Barbara L Fredrickson, ENVIRONMENT, Coaching Tip, Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Genpo Roshi, personal development, Positive Psychology, spirituality, Fully Alive, positive psychology coach, enlightenment

How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Life Coach?

Posted by Julia Stewart

How long does it take to become a life coachThis question gets asked a lot online, in one form or another: "How long does it take to become a life coach?"

Here are answers...

And that makes sense, because it's an important question to ask if you're thinking about becoming a business or life coach, but it probably means different things to different people.

It might mean:

  • How to become a life coach?
  • What are the best ways to learn to coach?
  • How many years of school are needed to become a coach?
  • How to make money as a coach?
  • How long does it take to get a full coaching practice?
  • How long does it take to become a certified coach?
  • How long does it take to achieve coaching success?
  • How long does it take to become a masterful coach?

Each of these questions has a different answer and every coach has a different experience, but here are a few basics, if you're wondering about becoming a coach.

The standard length of time for coach training is about two years. There are programs of varying quality that claim to do it faster, but...

Here's what you need to know: How quickly you learn the skills you need to become a successful coach depends on your level of personal development and how much time you spend actually coaching. If you haven't done your personal development work (It takes a lot more than just reading some self-help books), your "stuff" will get in the way and you will learn more slowly. And in addition to personal development, you need to be coaching everyday in order to become a good coach.

How long it takes for you to make a living as a coach, depends on how much money you need to live on and how skilled you are at building a business. 

Here's what you need to know: No business is profitable on Day One, so if you need money right away, get a part-time job to supplement your coaching income, at least for a while. That extra job will be part of your support system that carries you to success. Also, most people cut living expenses to a minimum, while they're building a new business. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to support yourself with your coaching business and with an extra income and low expenses, you'll avoid the kind of desperation that sends potential clients running. The result? You'll be able to support yourself sooner with coaching.

The length of time it takes to get a full coaching practice is anywhere from three months to five years.  

Here's what you need to know: Most coaches take at least several months to fill a coaching practice, even with an effective strategy like Coach 100.  Without an effective strategy, it can take several years - or never. If you're new to running your own business, or you don't understand marketing and sales, or worse yet, you think marketing and sales are slimy, it will take you longer than if you have a good business background. Make sure your coach training gives you the business skills you need to be successful with your coaching business and if you're uncomfortable with marketing and sales, work with a mentor coach, who can help you develop an authentic approach to building coaching success.

How long it takes to become a certified coach, depends on the certification and how diligently you work toward it.

Here's what you need to know: Coach training programs that claim to train and certify you in a few hours, or even a few days, are probably not respectable. The most recognized certifying organization is the ICF. Make sure your training is approved by that organization and know that most coaches take a several months to several years to get certified.

You won't be surprised when I tell you that how long it takes to become good at coaching depends a lot on the coach.

Here's what you need to know: There are many factors that go into the quality of an individual coach's skill. They include, your aptitude for coaching, your communication skills, your level of personal development, your faith in the coaching process, the quality and amount of coach training you've had, the amount of time you have actually spent coaching, whether or not you're getting feedback on your coaching, etc. But one thing is clear: The sooner you start, the sooner you'll master the skills you need to build a successful business and start transforming lives. What are you waiting for?

Want more information on how to become a coach? Get the free eBook, Become a Coach, below:

Get a free Become a Coach eBook here.

 

Topics: coaching business, mentor coach, coach training, become a coach, Coach 100, make a living as a coach, personal development, how long does it take to become a coach

New Coaching Niche: Longevity Coach

Posted by Julia Stewart

There are almost as many coaching specialties and niches as there are professional coaches and longevity coaching is a niche with legs.

What does a longevity coach do? This is lifestyle or personal development coaching with a focus on the lifestyle choices that support a longer life. Perhaps even more importantly, a longevity coach can help clients make choices that lead to greater freedom and happiness in old age.

In addition to coaching around diet, exercise, relationships and stress reduction, don't forget the importance of financial planning for happier senior years. Speaking of which, to coach in these areas, you really need some expertise. For both ethical and legal reasons, you need to be qualified to advise clients on physical and mental health, the law, and on finance.

Curious what it takes to live to be 100 years old? See the infographic  from howtobecome.org below. Perhaps Centenarian Coach will be the next big niche!

Becoming a longevity coach


Thinking about becoming a coach?

LEARN ABOUT JUST IN TIME COACH TRAINING

Topics: Coaching, professional coaching, become a coach, Coaches, coach, personal development

Seven Amazing Life Coach Lessons Learned From Oprah's Lifeclass

Posted by Julia Stewart

Life CoachI became a Life Coach because of Oprah.

Yup, that's how much an influence she's been on my life. I first got fired up to become a coach, while watching Oprah do a series with Life Coach, Cheryl Richardson, twelve years ago. Now I'm training other folks who are equally fired up, to become coaches, themselves. Thank you, Oprah!

Last Monday, I saw Oprah live at the premiere of her Lifeclass Tour. You might wonder why I waited 'til now to go see Oprah live. All I can say is, I won the ticket lottery for the world premiere of her Lifeclass Tour here in St. Louis and boy was I excited! Here's what I took away from this amazing adventure...

LESSON 1: Know When to Break the Rules. Moments before leaving my house in Washington County, I called my friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, for some last-minute directions to her house, more than an hour away. Joanne, who was accompanying me to Lifeclass, mentioned that the rules said we were supposed to bring small handbags, not gigant-o bags, like the one I was planning to bring (Oprah likes her audience to look great on camera, so wear bright colors and keep your little bag under your seat).

No problem! I have a huge collection of cute little bags and I quickly found one just big enough for my wallet and cell phone. I got to Joanne's house right on time, despite some crazy road construction and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We were psyched to be seeing Oprah in just two more hours and were about to get some lunch on the way when...

Holy Crap! I left our Lifeclass tickets in my big bag at home! (That's life with ADD.) If only...oh God! But it was too late. No tickets, no admission. I called the theater. No dice...

LESSON 2: Set Your Intentions and Act Like Your Hair's On Fire. I called my sister, Becky, and asked her to bring my big bag with the tix and meet us halfway. It was crazy. There was no way we'd get there before the theater closed its doors for the taping, but we went for it.

God bless Becky, she drives like a 5-Alarm Fire Chief even when there's no rush. She met us with the tix. I handed them to Joanne for good keeping and took off to make the hour-and-a-half drive with only an hour and ten minutes left 'til doors closed. Like good coaches, Joanne and I visualized walking through those theater doors with big smiles on our faces and handing our tickets to the ushers. And we made it. With fifteen minutes to spare! Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC(Okay, there was some speeding involved.)

My friend, Career Coach, Joanne Waldman, PCC, in-line with a big smile on her face, just before walking through the front doors of the Peabody Opera House for Oprah's Lifeclass, feeling really relieved to be there on time (and in one piece). =====>

 

And you guessed it! Half the audience was carrying gigant-o handbags (see above pic) and nobody cared. So respect your limitations (mine is distractibility) and adjust the rules to fit you. And if you screw up (which you will), set strong intentions and act on them like your hair's on fire.

Life Coach, Julia Stewart, MCC

 

 

<===== Here's me in the lobby, just before the ushers threw us out, insisting we get to our seats. Yeah, we broke their rule to 'keep moving', so we could nab a couple of pics. After all, we were feeling pretty special for getting there faster than humanly possible.

 

 

 

LESSON 3: Take a Chance on the Unknown. I had the option to enter the lottery for 4 different Lifeclass tapings, each with a different guest. Two were Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, heroes of mine. One for Iyanla Vanzant, who's great. And one for a guy I never heard of, Bishop T. D. Jakes. I really just wanted to see Oprah, so I took a chance on the new guy and he was absolutely awesome. I won't even try to tell you what he said; you have to SEE him. The show airs Monday, April 9th, 8ET/7CT. Bishop Jakes is all about Finding Your Purpose.

LESSON 4: You're Here for a Reason. That was the key message of the show. You're here at this show for a reason (Joanne and I knew that. We were MEANT to be there, so we had to get there on time). Your life has a purpose and Oprah and Jakes taught us how to find it. Adversity doesn't stop you from achieving your purpose. In fact, Jakes' metaphor for purpose and adversity is an archer: If you're the arrow, and your life is the bow, then the farther the archer (adversity) pulls the arrow (you) back, the farther and stronger you'll go to reach your purpose (Joanne and I had just proven that on the way to the show).

LESSON 5: Your life is a class. I was already familiar with most of the lessons they taught that day. After all, I've been a life-long personal development junkie. Oprah and Jakes just have an incredibly intense and wonderful way of teaching it all. They connect to the audience more profoundly and reach more people, as a result. They are more animated (that's why you have to SEE them). They're more entertaining. After all, they are masters of television. They are stars. But aren't you are star, also? Oprah thinks so.

LESSON 6: It's what happens off-the-record that really inspires. At the end of the show, as we were about to leave our seats, Oprah came back out, not for the television cameras, but just for us. She talked about how her purpose was to use television to help people have better lives. That she was always asking God to use her. And she had focused on how to use the Oprah show to serve her purpose, not have the show use her. And that's her big vision for OWN TV. That she has made mistakes with the network and was digging out of a hole (the papers say she just laid off 20% of her staff). She asked for our help to spread the word, so our culture has at least one television channel that uplifts, instead of just pandering to our lowest common interests.

It was her candidness and vulnerability that spoke most clearly. Here is the biggest star in the world (according to one poll), a profoundly spiritual being who just happens to be a billionaire in kickass diamond earrings. It seems like she has the Midas Touch, but even she can make mistakes...

Hmmm, could it be that adversity will help her arrow soar even farther and stronger?Oprah's Lifeclass Tour

Yep, that little speck center stage is Oprah, from my iPhone in row Z of the orchestra. That's okay, I saw her with my own eyes and heard her message with my own ears. =====>

LESSON 7: Be a Servant Star. Oprah's Lifeclass made me realize that I'd lost track of my purpose, so I can't use School of Coaching Mastery to reach it. I started the school to help carry out Thomas Leonard's purpose to improve coaching worldwide with IAC coach certification. He infected me with his vision ten years ago, but then he passed away, the IAC changed, its certification has changed, the ICF has also changed in some good ways. Now I'm mired in certification requirements...

School of Coaching Mastery has never really been about life coach certification. It's about the mastery coaches achieve on the way to coach certification. But what's the purpose of coaching mastery?

Coaching mastery is about helping people (coaching clients) learn the life lessons they need faster and more deeply, so they can create better lives and reach the highest, fullest expression of their beings. Period.

I've talked for years about the importance for coaches, of becoming Servant Entrepreneurs and I just had the honor of seeing the Ultimate Servant Entrepreneur.

Oprah is a Servant Star. Not because she's about being a star, it's because she's about revealing the star in you and asking you to use it to serve.

How inspiring is that?

In what ways might you already be a Servant Star? How do other Servant Stars light you up? How do you light people up? What do you need in order to use your life to serve your purpose? Do you know what your purpose is? How is adversity sending you even farther and stronger toward your purpose?

Are you ready to step up to Being a Star Who Serves? Please share your thoughts below...

Watch Oprah's Lifeclass Tour on Monday nights at 8PM ET/7PM CT. Watch two hours and call your life coach in the morning...

Topics: life coach, School of Coaching Mastery, become a coach, ICF, Thomas Leonard, Servant Entrepreneur, iPhone, OPRAH, life purpose, Cheryl Richardson, Tony Robbins, life coach certification, Julia Stewart, IAC, personal development

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